- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 6, 2001

Twice last weekend, Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith broke through the Washington Redskins' front seven only to be upended by 187-pound free safety David Terrell.

"That's the thing about David, the thing I noticed when I first got here [in 1999]," strong safety Sam Shade said yesterday. "Dave's a guy who will hit you with everything he's got. People probably look at him size-wise and say he's not going to stick it up in there, but he will."

Terrell spent that 1999 season on the practice squad before making the team last year as a key special teams contributor. Now he is impressing as Mark Carrier's replacement, thanks to his work ethic, speed, instincts and even tackling ability.

On Sunday at Arizona, the Redskins will need another strong performance from Terrell to contain the Cardinals' potent offense, which includes the league's eighth-ranked passing attack. Coach Marty Schottenheimer has no doubt Terrell will deliver.

"He has played so well," Schottenheimer said. "He and Sam do a great job of managing the secondary as far as the coverage part of it. The thing that's enjoyable about David is, you tell him [something] one time and you will see evidence of what's been discussed in the next practice, the next game."

That makes Schottenheimer upbeat about Terrell's potential. Said the coach: "He's beyond scratching the surface, but there's still a lot of upside."

The Redskins, however, weren't always so confident in Terrell. In training camp, there were major concerns about his inexperience, and the experiment with him appeared over when veteran Keith Lyle signed Aug. 22.

But Terrell, who had just turned 26, didn't get discouraged. He continued to improve while Lyle learned the system, and he never relinquished the starting role. Next season Terrell should be even better while still costing less than $400,000 against the salary cap (versus Shade's $2.8million).

"I've gotten a lot more comfortable as the season's gone on," Terrell said. "I'm trying to get better each and every week. I don't know how successful I've been, but I think they're comfortable keeping me there."

Alexander optimistic

Tight end Stephen Alexander continues to hope that he will return in several weeks despite a broken ankle. He said an MRI on Monday was encouraging because it showed the break occurred before Sunday's game.

"It's minor," Alexander said. "It could be a lot worse. It's not a huge break. It's not really anything to worry about. And it's a non-weight-bearing bone. The doctors seem to think everything's going to be all right, and that there's a possibility I could be playing in a couple weeks."

If not, Alexander's future with the club is uncertain. He wants to re-sign when his current deal expires at season's end, but the Redskins, who return Walter Rasby and have the exclusive rights of Zeron Flemister, might not be willing to pay him like a Pro Bowl player which he was last season. Alexander has just nine catches this year.

Asked whether he should be paid like a premier tight end, the 26-year-old replied, "That's a good question. I don't really know how to answer that. If it was a real serious injury, I think that could really play a role. I know having an injury and having not a great year [will affect me]. … But I think people know what my potential is. I'm not really worried about that right now. I'm hoping to finish this thing up on a positive note."

Extra points

The Redskins have a number of minor injuries but expect everyone except Alexander and offensive lineman Matt Campbell (knee) to play. Right guard Ben Coleman (quadriceps) was held out of practice. Campbell and tight end Walter Rasby (ankle) did limited individual work. Quarterback Tony Banks (ankle) took all the snaps. …

The Redskins signed tight end Steve Brominski to the practice squad and released offensive lineman Terrance Simmons. Brominski spent part of training camp with the club. …

Fullback Donnell Bennett was awarded a Golden Glove for a pancake block on a kickoff return against Dallas. The award is given out periodically by the coaching staff for big hits on special teams. …

Punt returner Eric Metcalf, a University of Texas product, was wearing the old Colorado jersey of wide receiver Michael Westbrook. Metcalf lost a bet on Saturday's Big 12 title game, which the Buffaloes won 39-37. Asked how it felt, Metcalf replied, "Terrible."

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